Airedale Hospital is making preparations for a resurgence of swine flu in the winter.

The World Health Organisation last Thursday declared the spread of the H1N1 virus strain as a global pandemic after it had become widespread in two regions of the world — Australia and North and South America.

Since the outbreak of the disease in Mexico, in April, Airedale Hospital has established a swine flu steering group chaired by Bridget Fletcher, the director of nursing, consisting of representative clinical and managerial staff.

The group initially met on a daily basis but this has now reduced to weekly “unless the gravity of the situation deepens”.

Airedale’s “surge plan” for managing pandemic flu has also been significantly revised in response to Government guidelines released after the flu virus emerged.

At the meeting of the trust board, Mrs Fletcher said: “This plan ensures that the trust can receive potential flu cases and maintain them in isolation from other patients as needed.”

She added that the surge plan was likely to be updated on a regular basis.

Board members were concerned that “things should not slip” in preparation for another bout of swine flu in winter.

Mrs Fletcher gave her assurances they would not and added: “We are expecting a resurgence of the flu and the predictions are that it will increase in winter.”

Airedale’s chief executive, Adam Cairns, said every different dimension of the plan must be looked at in the next few weeks because “there are only a few months left until winter”.

So far Airedale Hospital has treated no cases of the H1N1 strain.

One case of MRSA has been recorded by Airedale in the last month, reported Ann Wagner.

She said: “It is one case too many I know and we will be learning from it but it is still below the threshold.”

The Yorkshire Cancer Network has praised the management of cancer services in Airedale Hospital as “very effective” after a visit earlier in the year.